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SALT LAKE CITY – Credit union leagues will need to wage active political advocacy programs during the coming year in the face of fresh new attacks from the banking industry, according to Scott Earl, the new chairman of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues. Earl, who has first hand experience lately fighting assaults from banking organizations as president of the Utah League of Credit Unions, urged state leagues to fine tune their grassroots apparatus and political action efforts with the media and lawmakers to make sure a positive CU message gets out in public forums. The Utah League president said he agreed with his AACUL predecessor, Daniel F. Egan Jr., who holds the same title at the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire Leagues, that the banking lobby which has laid low since H.R.1151 four years ago seems to be gearing up for new battles with CUs over their tax exempt status and the crisis in state budgets. Earl said the long-running dispute in his state is not necessarily common across the country since there are leagues that have “decent working relationships” with banking associations. The relationships, he said, “varies widely but we are at the far end of the spectrum.”. Earl cited Missouri, where the state bankers association has filed field of membership suits, as well as North Carolina and Texas, as areas of the country where the industry is being sharply challenged by the banking lobby. Meanwhile, said Earl, state leagues have been forced to alter their priorities over the last 10 years since “when I first took this job it was all about finding ways to offer new products and services”and while his League staff handles that chore “75% of my job now is devoted to advocacy.” The outgoing AACUL chairman took over the association job during the organization’s annual meeting Dec. 5-7 in Waikoloa, Hawaii. Other new officers elected were: First vice chairman; John Franklin, president of the South Carolina League; Second Vice Chairman, Paul Mercer, president of the Ohio League; treasurer, Rick Pillow, president of the Virginia and D.C. Leagues and secretary, Roshara Holub, president of the Missouri Credit Union System. Also at the AACUL conference, Dick Ensweiler, president of the Texas League and CUNA Vice Chairman, was presented the Eagle Award, AACUL’s highest honor. Ensweiler was selected for his “unflagging focus” on important issues to the industry and his “outstanding record of achievement.” AACUL noted that the Eagle Award is not given annually “but only when a recipient is worthy of selection.” -

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